Halloween Reading recommendations

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter is a orphan who discovers that he has magical powers and we follow him on his adventures at Hogwarts Wizard School.  The Harry Potter novels has all of the elements of Halloween stories – ghosts, vampires, werewolves, witches!  I recommend these books for fans of fantasy.  Note:  I am a big fan of Harry Potter.

A Forgotten Place by Charles Todd

Though the Great War has ended, Bess Crawford finds herself caught in dangerous circumstances on a remote Welsh headland.  Though this novel does not have vampires or witches, I found this story to be very spooky and I thought this Bess Crawford novel was another excellent novel for Halloween even though we do not see the usual Halloween characters.

Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie

A teenage murder witness is drowned in a tub of apples at a Hallowe’en party.  Hercule Poirot is called in to find “the evil presence”.  The setting is during Halloween.  I read this novel a long time ago and thought it was very spooky.

Royal Blood by Rhys Bowen

This is the fourth novel in Her Royal Spyness series.  “Penniless and thirty-fourth in line to the throne, Lady Georgiana Rannoch finds herself in diminishing state of affairs.  In order to escape her nasty sister-in-law, Lady Georgie accepts an invitation from Buckingham Palace to represent the Royal Family at a wedding in Transylvania (aka the home of Dracula).  At the spooky looking castle, Lady Georgie finds the bride with blood running down her chin.  Lady Georgie sees someone who looks like a vampire.  There are Dracula vibes in the novel.  This novel is, in my opinion, a perfect read for Halloween.

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Witches…vampires…daemons…a perfect mixture of characters for Halloween.  There is also time travel.  This novel is part of the All Souls Trilogy series.  All of the books in this series would make a great Halloween read.

 

 

 

 

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February and March Books

February was a interesting reading month.  In addition to an ARC for The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear,   In February, I read more nonfiction and memoirs, especially after reading THAT CHURCHILL WOMAN by Stephanie Barron.  Reading historical fiction inspired me to read more nonfiction/memoir.  I read Daughter of the Empire, a memoir by Lady Pamela Hicks, who was a bridesmaid in Princess Elizabeth’s wedding to Prince Philip.  Now they are better known as the Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh.  I read a memoir by Dani Shapiro about her life.  I loved all of these books.  I read and finished three books for different book club chats – Learning to See by Elise Hooper, Five Feet Apart by (?) and the Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie.

March was a very busy month!  I read many books in preparation for our trip to Left Coast Crime at the end of March.  Though I read many books, I managed to finish only six books.  I read all of the books in the W.I.S.E. Enquiry Agency series by Cathy Ace.  I read the new Charles Lenox novel, The Vanishing Man, by Charles Finch.  Loved all of these books!  I read and loved Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen.  For St. Patrick’s Day, I read some stories from the Dubliners by James Joyce.  And I revisited The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear.  Still enjoyed the book.

Book Review: The American Agent

Synopsis:

When Catherine Saxon, an American correspondent reporting on the war in Europe, is found murdered in her London digs, news of her death is concealed by the British authorities.  Serving as a linchpin between Scotland Yard and the Secret Service, Robert MacFarlane pays a visit to Maisie Dobbs, seeking her help.  He is accompanied by an agent from the US Department of Justice—-Mark Scott, the American who helped Maisie get out of Hitler’s Munich in 1938.  MacFarlane asks Maisie to work with Scott to uncover the truth about Saxon’s death.

As the Germans unleash the full terror of their blitzkreig upon the British Isles, raining death and destruction from the skies, Maisie must balance the demands of solving this dangerous case with her need to protect Anna, the young evacuee she has grown to love and wants to adopt.  Entangled in an investigation linked to the power of wartime propaganda and American political intrigue being played out in Britain, Maisie will face personal challenges.

The latest novel in the Maisie Dobbs series will be launched in March.  The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear is the 15th Maisie Dobbs book.  I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Once again, Jacqueline Winspear has created a cast of marvelous, engaging, believable  characters caught up in yet another world-wide crisis, seen through the everyday small details of “Keep calm and carry on”.

The sensory details of the Blitz, smells, tastes, sounds, all filter through the emotional responses of the people whose fates are bound up with the fates of nations.

Maisie must navigate unreliable premises to reach realistic conclusions about the murder of a young charismatic woman correspondent on the brink of becoming one of Murrow’s Boys.  Edward R. Murrow was a real life war correspondent who reported from Britain during the war.

The historical, especially the sartorial, details are spot on.  The American ambassador to Britain, Joseph P. Kennedy, is mentioned in the novel.  The reader is reminded of Ambassador Kennedy’s attitudes about Hitler and Fascism.

The American Agent is an excellent enrichment of this riveting series with something for everyone – fans of historical fiction, romance fans, history buffs and mystery aficionados.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jane Austen’s Persuasion: Book Review

Jane Austen’s Persuasion was wonderful!  I was pleasantly surprised that reading this novel was easier than expected.  Of all the Jane Austen novels, I had an easier time reading Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice.  Perhaps the stories in these two novels resonated with me.  I still have not finished Mansfield Park. 

Where the Crawdads Sing: Book Review

This novel has been on the bestsellers list for a while.  Many people on Instagram raved about the book.  I decided to read the novel when I saw the book.  I was pleasantly surprised that I loved the book.  It is rare for me to even like a book that gets a lot of hype.  I rarely like books on best sellers lists.

This novel is a modern novel.  I could not see this novel being written 200 years ago.  If someone wrote a similar novel 200 years ago, Kya would have been a man, not a woman.  I thought of Mark Twain’s Huck Finn when reading the novel.

The characters are wonderful.  The theme of this novel is about resilience despite the challenges.  I am still thinking about the book.

January Reads

January was a wonderful birthday month and a wonderful reading month!

The Little Book of Hygge

Learning to See

Panchinko

The Gown

An Incomplete Revenge

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

 

December Reads

December was a wonderful reading month.  With the cold weather, you want to snuggle under warm blankets and read books!

I started off the month with a non fiction book that I had meant to read in November.  The non fiction book was Becoming by Michelle Obama.  I loved the book so much that I bought copies to give as Christmas gifts to relatives and friends.

A re-read of Alexander McCall Smith’s modern re-telling of Jane Austen’s Emma was better.  I liked it better after reading the original Emma.

I participated in a Christmas book swap through Instagram and I received Christmas at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry.  I loved the novel as much as I loved How to Find Love in A Bookshop by the same author.

I ordered Food for Thought by Cristina Ferrare.  I loved the photos and the recipes.

The last book I read in December was the new Bakeshop novel by Ellie Alexander.  Live and Let Pie was wonderful!

 

November Reads

November did not go as planned.  We had the fires in California.  I had a lot of catching up to do with reading Emma.  I finally finished the Emma novel by Jane Austen.  It was quite a Herculean effort for me.  Perhaps it was because I was reading the book for the first time.  After I finished Emma, I read the modern retelling by Alexander McCall Smith, which I found easier to read than the original.